The amazing response this year for Food for Thought continues.
As of Monday afternoon, $31,420.40 has been raised. With just over a week to go, we're already getting very close to last year's total of $35,377.
They say, every penny counts, and helps fill the stomachs of youngsters in the city, who have enough to worry about each day, without the further distraction of being hungry.
Food for Thought provides some very valuable assistance on that front, but so do a number of other programs. One of those is the Breakfast for Learning organization, which operates across Canada. In Alberta alone, Breakfast for Learning helps fund 298 programs in schools, which account for 30,679 kids and over five million meals.
I spoke with Alberta co-ordinator Kristen Wilson, who added here in Lethbridge, there is certainly room for more schools to get on board.
"The numbers aren't as impressive in Lethbridge as Alberta in general, but it does show a definite need in your community."
Breakfast for Learning operates programs in two city schools, which helps feed 162 kids every day.
"It's great for learning because you don't learn when you're hungry and your stomach's rumbling," she said of the dilemma facing some students.
She added lunch and snacks, aside from breakfast, are provided through the program, which also has another benefit - increased social interaction among students who sit down to eat together.
Each May, Wilson added Breakfast for Learning puts out a call for schools to get involved. In June, schools are approved for the following calendar year.
If approved, funds and expertise on how to operate the program are provided from Breakfast for Learning. It's then up to volunteers to run the show, with the hope the program becomes sustainable in the long term
Money for meals is not all the program provides, as it often helps supply equipment like fridges, ovens and freezers.
For schools to be eligible, they must demonstrate a level of need, be able to supply nutritious food to meet Canada's Food Guide, have multiple sources of funding, include nutrition education, operate the program at least three times a week and offer access to all students.
"It's not restricted to just kids who can't afford it," said Wilson, who added that way, no one is being singled out.
Certainly, Food for Thought can't be singled out either as the only way to help youngsters get a good, healthy start to the day. Many programs are out there, and many schools do great work on their own to help solve the problem.
Food for Thought offers one more way to help, and hopefully ensure in the future not one single child in the city has to go hungry through an entire school day.
Food for Thought funds, directed through Lethbridge's public school district and the Holy Spirit Catholic school division, help local schools target that need and give help where it is needed. The campaign kicked off Nov. 29 and will run until Dec. 20.
Donations can be made between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at The Herald at 504 7 St. S., or by mail at Lethbridge Herald, P.O. Box 670, Lethbridge, AB., T1J 3Z7. Cheques can be made payable to The Lethbridge Herald Charitable Foundation. Tax receipts are available, upon request, for donations greater than $5.
2012 campaign supporters:
Anonymous - $50
Anonymous - $50
Anonymous - $50
Joan Dravec - $100
In memory of Diane Matthews - $100
Florence Kubinec - $50
Gwendolyne Vaselenak - $100
Evelyn - $100
Anonymous - $20
Holy Hatitudes Red Hats - $105
Vaughn and Marilyn Hembroff - $200
Total to date - $31,420.40